29 September 2009

Healthy internal debate on India climate stand missing

By: Kaavya Nag

The Indian high command has been gunning for a change in image and a slight shift of position on climate change. In what is internationally being acknowledged as a welcome move, minster of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh has been globe trotting and publicising India's actions and future plans on climate change.

In China he said India could benefit from Chinese collaboration on climate. Back home in India he agreed we had a long way to go. Soon after in the United States, at the UN climate summit he vociferously emphasised India was keen to be a deal-maker, and show leadership on climate issues.

Apart from speaking of  domestic plans, he publicly stated the possibility of a national bill on climate mitigation, implicit or soft targets, and the possible formation of a National Climate Change Mitigation Authority, that would direct and guide mitigation efforts and aspirational targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. There has also been recent reference to making the process of reporting on mitigation cuts more transparent and accountable. These are welcome moves that show that India can be a leader in the climate debate.

However, Opposition silence on this key issue is worrying. Agreed that the UPA has a strong majority in Parliament - enough to silence any serious dissent. But amidst all this frenetic political activity, a robust dialogue on this hot issue is seriously lacking. The opposition has neither welcomed the move, nor slammed it. They only 'unofficially' or 'softly' think that politicians are undermining the 'hard-fought' stand on climate change, and that there is little political discussion or consensus before taking a decision on such vital matters.

Surely the BJP (after handling their internal crisis) and the Communists can voice their concerns at the least? Or is the future of 500 million people by 2050 not worth the effort of debating? Jairam Ramesh says internal political dialogue and consensus is an essential - it is most important that future governments carry forward the stands and positions taken now. Flip flop in 2020 is not an option clearly, so why the silence?

No comments:

Post a Comment